§ Lord Melchett
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they accept the Chairman of the Nature Conservancy Council's (NCC) estimate that £20 million is needed over the next 10 years to safeguard Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), and whether they will state the acreage of SSSIs that this estimate assumes will need to be safeguarded by: (a) management agreements; and (b) purchase in each year during the 10-year period.
§ The Earl of Avon
The estimates submitted by the NCC were based on the calculation that about 4,350 hectares of land in SSSIs were damaged by agricultural or forestry operations in 1980 and on the assumption that some 5,000 hectares would therefore require safeguarding every year. The estimates further assumed that 3,000 hectares would be protected each year by management agreement and 2,000 by purchase.214WA According to these estimates, the total costs of protection over the first 10 years would range from £15 million to £25 million. The initial assumption, as to the amount of land requiring protection, is, of course, speculative; only experience will show the true figure.